Truckers News

March 2012

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Diversions Profile » Tilden Curl Tilden Curl runs his own equipment to pull profitable loads on the Interstate 5 corridor from Washington to Southern California. small businessman. We have many drivers out here who are excel- lent truck drivers, but they're not worth a darn at business. If you're not a businessperson or not will- ing to learn the tenets of a good trucking business — the expenses and income — you can't ad- equately judge what you're doing. Business savvy T ilden Curl is on a mission. The owner-operator wants to help truckers understand what it takes to succeed in the industry. He hopes to educate drivers who crave independence about how to prosper. "My goal is to be a crusader in this industry and see if I can help elevate the awareness of the needs in the industry and the concerns," says the owner of Tecco Trucking of Olympia, Wash. Curl has been driving for almost 20 years and running under his own HIGHWAY HERO Tilden Curl was selected the Goodyear 2010 North America Highway Hero for helping save the lives of two people before their car was struck by a train. Curl was driving on Highway 99 near Tulare, Calif., when a vehicle went out of control and came to a stop on railroad tracks. Curl checked on the car and saw a train was coming. A woman exited the car, and Curl yelled for her to get clear of the tracks. The driver was unconscious and trapped inside. Curl unfastened the man's seatbelt and dragged him away seconds before the train slammed the 18 | TRUCKERS NEWS | MARCH 2012 Tilden Curl was named the 2010 Goodyear Highway Hero. Tilden Curl says owner-operators need to crunch the numbers on the road to success KNOW YOUR COSTS You have to know what it costs to run your truck and your business. That's where most operators fall short, because they don't analyze the cost of owning and maintain- ing a truck and depreciation on a per-mile and per-month basis. I decided I could own my 2009 by MAX KVIDERA authority for about 12. He's driven the Interstate 5 corridor from Washington state to Southern California for 14 years. He runs a 2009 Kenworth T660 and pulls a 2003 stepdeck trailer. Curl, 53, talked with us about trucking, running a business and how to do more than survive. Here are some of his comments. THINK LIKE A BUSINESS OWNER When you buy a truck you are no longer a truck driver — you're a truck with those payments cheap- er than I could own my [previ- ous] 1995 Peterbilt with its higher maintenance costs and more time off the road for repairs. Get a $5 calculator and wear it out until you know what your costs are. Also, operators need to factor in their home costs and what's reasonable to expect from their job. Most drivers fall short of that. [Most] don't have adequate health care and insurance. There's also that retirement thing that for most truck drivers is so elusive. Few drivers ever achieve the ability to have an adequate retirement. KEEPING TRACK OF THE NUMBERS I don't do all my own books. My wife Lesli and I work together — she does the bookkeeping, billing and the accounting, but those are all systems I set up. CHOOSING YOUR LOADS Don't operate if you don't make money. Don't pay somebody to haul their freight. There's a lot of freight paying 85 cents a mile. If your operating costs are $1.35, you're paying somebody 45-50 MAX KVIDERA

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